Ah, family weddings. A time for tears of joy, parties that last through the night and.....unbelievably hectic schedules, evidently.The next day, I woke up without a voice. Evidently it had gone on vacation and had appointed searing chest pain to take over in its absence. I was personally offended by this evil-intentioned illness and took action with two different kinds of medication while Janie and I ran around even more--bridal fittings, bridesmaid fittings, Panera again, climbing the tree in Janie's front yard and talking religion, laying on a blanket in the backyard when that got cold, giving Kip directions from Nashua, figuring out what exactly he and I were to do that night in the way of housing, thinking of ways to stop my cello from being delivered to my rainy apartment in Juneau after its accidental cross-country trip while I was gone. My mom's response to my barely existent voice was the most fitting sentence I heard that day: "Oh. My. God."
I flew into Boston on the Red Eye from Seattle to find New England much the same as when I left. Living on the West Coast has opened my eyes to just how different the two sides of the country really are--even the buildings in Boston looked more serious, like businessmen stuffed into a shirt and tie far too uncomfortable for their liking. "Welcome back, Cindy," the city seemed to say on behalf of all of New England, "I'm happy to see you, but let's not get too emotional about it, must stay proper...." In a move more to do with my 6 am arrival, but which ended up making me sweetly nostalgic for Oxford, I hopped a bus up to New Hampshire, crocheting all the way. Sleeping on the "No, we don't have blankets or pillows, but we'll keep the cabin at a balmy 35-degrees" flight was dismal to say the least, so in lieu of rest, I had worked my way through four out of the five skeins of yarn I'd brought with me. It was quite a beginning.
I took the bus to North Londonderry, where I met up with Michelle, a great family friend from our days in the 'Shire. She (mercifully) let me take a nap and then it was off for wedding preparations (mine and Kip's, not Casey and Tina's). We went to a flower shop for centerpiece branches and, finding that far too expensive, dug around in her backyard until we found some Birch branches to fit the bill. Tina called and together we decided that I shouldn't necessarily go to the bachelorette party that night due to the fact that I had caught whatever mysterious illness Kip had been battling for the past week. The next day I awoke at noon to my Fritz Wetherbee ringtone ("You have a phone call...I hope it's someone from New Hampsha' ") and Ms. Nick, my high school orchestra and band director, asking when we would meet up that day. I don't say "I answered the phone" because what I did wasn't quite "answering", it was more like.....whooping. What voice I had left was leaving the building along with Elvis. And they were in a hurry.
But what's a little thing like the Swine Flu to stop me? I headed off to Michael's to get more yarn, bounced over to Panera to meet Ms. Nick, met up with my friend Janie, went to her house for dinner with the fam, then oozed on over to the Strange Brew Tavern in Manchester where I had a satisfyingly sinister run-in with the middle school Ms. Perfect who is, suffice it to say, now not so perfect anymore. Score.
We schmoozed. We bachelor/ette partied. We drove up and down I-83 about a million times. We planned. We found out that not just one, but two of Kip's groomsmen dropped out of our wedding in August. We met with old friends who begged to see us. We tried to spend enough time with various family members who had flown in. By the end of the week, it was time for the Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner and Best Man Kip and Bridesmaid Cindy were running on Empty, and it wasn't even the main event yet!
Luckily, it was Cheshires to the rescue! Since Tina and Casey met at school in the theater program, the theme for their rehearsal dinner was theatre--complete with boas and hats for everyone to dress up in, and signed pictures from famous actors (Dame Judi Dench and Kenneth Branaugh among them!!!) wishing Casey and Tina good luck. Here's Casey and Kip in their fine haberdashery.